Recovery of New Orleans Schools Reaches Turning Point with Unprecedented Conference Between All Key Parties

June 19, 2010

NEW ORLEANS – The recovery of New Orleans public schools reached a turning point this week when, for the first time since Hurricane Katrina, all key parties to the Recovery School District’s application for a $1.5 billion lump sum in FEMA reconstruction dollars came together for “Way Ahead” meetings to review the application and discuss completion of the approval process.

Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (LA-02), who for the past year and a half has been pressing FEMA to streamline and expedite approval of the funding, was among those in attendance for briefings today at Andrew Wilson Elementary School in Broadmoor, a neighborhood hit hard by Katrina flooding. Also in attendance were FEMA Region 6 Administrator Tony Russell, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Deputy Associate Director David Haun, Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) Deputy Director Mark Riley and Recovery School District (RSD) representatives. Today’s briefings followed an initial meeting yesterday at the FEMA office in Algiers.

FEMA is expected to act on the application before the end of the year. The proposed $1.5 billion lump sum would fund reconstruction, renovation or shutdown of schools that suffered hurricane-related damage. Since Katrina, the recovery process has taken place on a piecemeal basis with partial payments from FEMA and advance funding from the state of Louisiana.

FEMA’s decision on the proposed settlement will be a test case for how the agency handles future obligations involving large catastrophic events from which it is charged with helping communities recover, not only in Louisiana’s 2nd Congressional District, but nationwide.

The Recovery School District is among numerous major entities including the City of New Orleans whose applications for FEMA recovery dollars have held up by bureaucratic red tape and exhaustive review.

Congressman Cao said, “I fully support these precedent-setting talks and would like to see other large applicants impacted by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Ike and Gustav have the chance to move recovery forward by obtaining similar lump sum payments so the communities of New Orleans and Jefferson Parish can rebuild faster.”

Use a Highlighter on this page
Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply